LONE GROVE — With larger demonstrations in the works statewide, a small group of Lone Grove students, teachers and parents gathered with signs and smiles for the second time yesterday evening.
The group’s signs ask for the community to show their support for teachers, as well as advocating for teacher pay raises and more education funding. Kaylee Loftie, a sophomore at Lone Grove High School and member of the school’s Key Club, said her group came up with the idea.
“We wanted to support teachers, so we decided to make signs
and see if other people supported teachers too,” Loftie said. “Word just got around and everyone wanted to help.”
Loftie said she and other students will go to the Capitol to advocate for teacher pay and school funding next week.
Lone Grove teacher Lindsay Riggs attended both days with her three daughters, all Lone Grove students. She said for teachers whose students are in public school, the issue is even more pertinent.
“This is for them,” Riggs said. “Funding has been cut so much that they are the ones that are suffering in the classroom.”
Riggs paused for a burst of honking from the street, followed by excited screaming from the kids at the protest.
“Teachers are good at smiling and doing what we need to do to get the job done, but it’s time for the legislature to step up and provide us with the funding needed,” Riggs said. “For desks, for technology, for books.”  
Lone Grove Superintendent Meri Jayne Miller joined the group for the second day. She said the district is sticking with their original plan, using April 2 and 3 as advocacy days for teachers who want to go to the state Capitol.
“If necessary, we’ll send delegates after that,” Miller said.
Miller said no matter what happens with pending legislation, Lone Grove teachers plan to be at the Capitol on Monday.
“It may be a message of ‘thank you,’ it may be a message of ‘we still need to work on some things,’” Miller said. “I think it’s a very important step. You have to remember, this is after 10 years’ worth of educational cuts.”
Miller said while House Bill 1010 is a start, it can’t repair all the damage that’s been done. She said her district hasn’t adopted a new textbook in about eight years.
“It’s historic and it’s huge for our teachers and our education system, we just need to make sure our schools are fully funded,” Miller said. “We are in need of new curriculum, new textbooks, and those are very expensive. Teachers have been very resourceful, but it’s important we keep making our voices heard.”